I run a young company called Ebro Enterprise & Leisure (E.E.L.). My partner Derek who lives in England came out for his last trip of the year before the river started to flood, to try and get the elusive 100lb + Catfish that had managed to elude him for the whole of the year. On the third day of his visit I took him to a new swim that had appeared earlier in the year which looked promising. It was an overcast day and looked like it might rain, not that that put us off, we were well prepared for any event (Besides which it would only take two minutes to get home by car!) We got all the tackle set up and where ready to start when the water erupted, fish were trying to get out of the water to avoid being swallowed by the unseen intruder. Derek smiled and said that today was going to be HIS day for that big one that always gets away (In the pub).

We got our tackle in the water and sat back to enjoy a cup of tea. My tea went over my lap in the haste to grab my rod as the line screamed from the reel. It was the first take and had taken about three minutes from the time the bait had been put in the water. Derek pulled his line in to give me room to play with what I knew was a fair sized Cat. It headed downstream for a small weed bed where I knew it would break free from my line, I managed to turn it but it then made a charge for the main channel and fast water, knowing full well that it would be the end I gritted my teeth and put the pressure on to slow it down. It worked. After about 20 minutes of pain mixed with pleasure the first Cat of the day was on the bank and weighed in at 66lbs. Having captured all the action on video, Derek then asked if he could put his bait back in the water!! When I had got the fish on the stringer and settled I went back to my chair to enjoy a fresh cup of tea.

Derek was lighting a fag when his line started to move away, he looked at me and struck, his rod bent and he smiled to himself but it was short lived as the fish came to the bank with ease and turned out to be a kitten of 25lb. I consoled him by saying that it's mum and dad were probably out there too, he looked at me and said that he didn't want them he wanted the grandparents. (Ha, Ha). By now it was raining a fine drizzle so we donned our wet weather gear and sat back to wait. I was once told that if it rained when fishing for Cats give up and go home am I glad I never listened.

My second run was not as fast, the fish was quickly subdued and on the bank to weigh in at 15lb, much to Derek's delight.

There were several Cats in the area and they were feeding. We were both excited and nothing short of thunder and lightning was going to stop us from fishing. We had just started to eat our rolls when I had another run. Once again I struck and the rod bent, I saw Derek pick up the video camera and then heard him say that Nick was into his third Cat, he mumbled something else that I didn't catch but could imagine what he was saying. I moved towards a large rock and sat down to play the fish, it stayed close to the bank but was fighting hard. I gave a sigh of relief when it was on the bank. This was the biggest so far and topped the scales at 78lb. it then joined the other Cat on a stringer.

Derek had reset his bait and had moved closer to my swim. It did no good because within 30 minutes I was in again, but this time the fish moved upstream towards an old sunken tree, once it was turned it headed for the main flow where I thought I had lost it, but as luck would have it the fish turned of its own accord and headed straight for me. I had to wind fast but managed to keep the line tight. I then kept the fish close to the bank and finally after about fifteen minutes it joined me on the bank. Derek pointed out that they were getting bigger, we both jumped as another Cat broke the surface in my swim, I told Derek to cast there while I dealt with this one. We put the fish into our custom made weigh sling and watched as the scales went to 92lbs. Derek said the next fish would be his and would hit the scales at 100lbs.

I told Derek to leave his bait where it was and I put mine slightly upstream of him. Yes you guessed out of the two baits mine was picked up for the fifth time, needless to say it did the usual rounds and headed in all the wrong directions, I told Derek that this felt the strongest by far and sure enough when all the fighting and swearing was over with the fish sent the needle on the scales round to 99lbs. I told Derek we would call it a round 100, he said no ******* way it says 99lbs on the scales and that's what it stays at.

After the obligatory photo call I was ready to call it a day, my body was aching from top to bottom and then some. After some persuading Derek agreed to pack up and try again the following day.

That is not quite the end, Derek fished the next two days alone but on the Monday I went with him as it was his last day, he had to get one. We fished the same swim, the sun was shining and it was hot. Nothing happened for a couple of hours so I decided to go and look at a couple of swims about 300 yards upstream. I was gone about ten minutes. As I came round the corner I saw Derek had my rod in his hands and that it had a large curve in it, I smiled thinking that he had snagged it while recasting, that was not the case he was playing a fish, he told me that his legs were shaking because he had never felt a fish like it in his life. I told him to hand me the rod, his face fell I smiled and told him that I was only joking. Derek played the fish well and after about twenty minutes I grabbed its lower jaw and heaved it onto the bank. We both looked down at it and I told him that his dream of getting the 100lb catfish looked as if it was about to come true. He held his breath as the pointer on the scales moved round and stopped at 100lbs 4ozs. He had done it!!!! So the final count between us was six cats on the Friday and Derek's BIG one on the Monday. He went back to England a very happy man. I called Derek a couple of weeks later to tell him that I had fished the swim upstream and had landed one of 125lbs. If the telephone operator reads this I must apologise for Derek's bad language that day but my news had upset him just a bit!

I must point out that all the fish caught were caught during the day and not at night. So as far as feeding better at night goes it's back to the drawing boards. I live on the lower reaches of the Ebro and it fishes completely different to the upper section.

Nick Rowe